Northern Ireland’s world number three Rory McIlroy says he discovered a renewed focus on adding to his four majors during the coronavirus lockdown.
While the Open Championship was cancelled because of the pandemic, the US PGA Championship begins on Thursday at Harding Park with the US Open and the Masters to follow in the autumn.
“Those were the three, even in quarantine, I was looking towards. Once the schedule was set, it was those three events I was trying to get ready for,” McIlroy, 31, told the Guardian.
“Everything was normal then we had this massive gap where I had time to think: ‘OK, what are you looking forward to after this break?’
“It’s a funny year… but I’ve three opportunities from now until November to add to my major tally.”
McIlroy’s most recent major success came at the US PGA Championship in 2014, when he became the third player in history to win four majors by the age of 25.
Six years on, McIlroy says the lockdown provided him the time to reassess his priorities within golf.
“Because of all that’s happened this year, it’s made me focus a little more on just these weeks that are coming up,” he said.
McIlroy shot 67 in his final round at the WGC-St Jude Invitational on Sunday, leaving him tied for 47th on one under par for the tournament.
Justin Thomas’ victory in Memphis meant the American leapfrogged McIlroy and Spaniard Jon Rahm at the top of the world rankings heading into the opening major of the year.
Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell shot a final round of 69 to finish in a tie for 35th on three under.